Abstract in Aspic (Download CDR)
3 tracks / 73.08 mins
Play Sample: 56K Dialup Broadband
Download Sample: 500K 1.5Mb
(Excerpt from track(s) 'Abstract 1')
The beginning of the first track must be the quietest I have ever heard. I had to put earphones on and turn the volume right up to prove to myself that there was indeed any music there at all! The level of bass is so low and rumbling it could well have just been the very faint sound of some far away traffic After about a minute bright shimmers (or I suppose they could be described as very rapid high register sequences) start to materialise and the level of volume becomes within reach of the average human ear. There seems to be two different patterns to these shimmer, both are rather beautiful but it is almost as if one is calling out and the other answering. One is slightly deeper than the other, one male and one female perhaps? Gradually they morph, seeming to become one. There are subtle changes to both pattern and frequency as well as accompanying effects such as the amount of reverb or echo. Whatever, it’s incredibly mesmerizing stuff- even slightly disorientating! Certainly nothing like I have ever heard from Michael before. By the fifteenth minute things are being stripped right back as the shimmers / sequences become gradually quieter only to periodically surge forward again. It’s as if they are coming in waves. Even though things do settle down to a lovely mellow finish I must admit to being quite exhausted by it all!
The second track begins very much as the first with very low volume bass. Delicate percussive tones start to emerge, almost like a harp being strummed but with a more metallic or even chimes type sound. It’s all incredibly delicate. Very gradually these angelic sounds become higher in the mix and a similar shimmer / sequence to the one found in the opener joins proceedings. There is real subtlety here but you have to give your full concentration to pick up on it as the music seems to want to make the brain submit - not to think - just be taken over by the hypnotic beauty of all these rapid notes which seem somehow to be multiplying all the time. Too much, too much!
I suspect this is music designed to wash over you - if you try and analyse it, it will scramble your brain. A deep throb, almost like that of a vast transformer gets the final track underway. Gradually there become little skips or catches in the gently pulsating sound until the pattern changes completely into a very early seventies sounding sequence. This becomes more rapid and prominent, forceful even. Nearer the end rushes of sound join the pulsation like sheets of bright psychedelic light. This album is something of an enigma as, taken on one level, it is quite soothing and I imagine that is exactly what some people will take out of it - but to me I found that it was trying to mess with my head in an almost aggressive way. The more I tried to get to grips with it the more it seemed to dominate, the more I just let it wash by the more tranquil and benign it seemed. Intriguing - but also a little scary! (DL)
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